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2016 Mets season preview: Matt Reynolds

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The infielder now has a good shot at making the Opening Day roster.

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A couple weeks ago, it didn't look like Matt Reynolds had any shot of making the Mets' Opening Day roster. That wasn't really an insult to him, but the team had a slew of middle infielders that looked like locks: Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, Wilmer Flores, and Ruben Tejada. But the Mets put Tejada on waivers, and Cabrera's dealing with a knee injury that could very well put him on the disabled list to start the season.

Drafted by the Mets in the second round of the 2012 amateur draft, Reynolds made his pro debut in Single-A Savannah that year and worked his way up the system from there. Splitting time between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas in 2014, he put up a .343/.405/.454 line, which is still pretty good even in the context of the very-hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Aside from a few injury rehab games in rookie ball, he spent all of 2015 with Vegas but hit .269/.321/.402. In October, with Juan Uribe already injured, he found himself on the Mets' playoff roster after Tejada's leg was broken by Chase Utley's awful slide but he did not play in any games.

Reynolds ranked twelfth on our list of the Mets' top twenty-five prospects going into this season. At that time, Greg Karam wrote:

Reynolds is another player with a likely utility player ceiling and many, myself included, thought he would realize that ceiling in 2015. Instead, he floundered, hitting about ten percent worse than league average in one of the most hitter-friendly leagues in all of the minors. Reynolds is a tough one to peg. He doesn't show much ability to draw a walk, strikes out a fair bit, and doesn't hit for power. He has posted some obscene BABIPs at other stops in the minors, indicating an ability to drive the ball. His shortstop defense is adequate, and he can bounce around to second and third if need be. There's a lot to like here, but 2016 is likely a make-or-break year for Reynolds because it's hard to see him keeping his 40-man spot throughout the season if he isn't able to add value to the major league club, or at least provide an acceptable level of depth.

Projections can be a bit clunky for players who haven't had any major league playing time yet, but the major systems have him hitting well below league average. Given the team's move with Tejada, the Mets clearly think Reynolds is capable of more than that, even if they don't expect to rely on him heavily over the course of the season.